View Full Version : With Nothing To See, (Steeler) Fans Sellout Home Team

10-11-2009, 11:08 PM
(Chalk up another win for the unrivaled power of the Steeler Nation. - mesa)

With Nothing To See, Fans Sellout Home Team
POSTED: Sunday, October 11, 2009
DETROIT -- You knew they were going to come out in full force.

But letís be honest, no one knew Pittsburgh Steelersí fans would flock to Ford Field en masse on Sunday afternoon. There were yellow towels being waved like crazy in the crowd of 59,333.:tt04:

It was almost like it was the Super Bowl in 2005 all over when the Steelers beat Seattle to win the championship here.

Although thereís no way of accurately counting the mix of the crowd this time, Steelers fans probably made up about 50 percent of the crowd. Often, when they were cheering, it sounded like it was even more than that.

Plus, they had more reason to cheer. The defending Super Bowl champs scored a tougher-than-it needed-to-be 28-20 victory over the Lions.

Late in the fourth quarter, after Lions fans chanted, "Letís go Lions," Steelers fans chanted even louder, "D-fense. D-fense."

"Maybe at the end of the game it felt that way a little bit (like an away game)," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "But I thought our crowd was behind us, loud. And it didnít put us in an adverse situation until the very end."

When quarterback Dante Culpepper was sacked three straight times in the Lionsí last drive in an attempt to tie the score, the crowd erupted. It honestly sounded as if the game was at Heinz Field, not in downtown Detroit.

Often players tell you that they donít hear the crowd. You would have had to be deaf not to hear the Steelers fans with the game on the line.

"When it go to that last drive, they got pretty loud," admitted Lionsí linebacker Julian Peterson, who watched in horror from the sideline.

Granted, itís not the first time a good team has taken over a stadium from a bad team.

But this was deeper than just fans trying to make a little cash by selling tickets to Steelers fans who could easily drive here and see their favorite team. Some of those fans probably have a hard time getting a chance to watch the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Hence, itís a great opportunity.

Lionsí fans must be feeling like thereís just nothing to see here.

They won a game already this year, so that mystery is over.

You would figure they would want to see their franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford, develop. But that doesnít seem to be true because you get the sense many would have sold their tickets even if Stafford would have played.

Culpepper, who started in place of the injured Stafford, had a mixed bag day, doing some good things. But he also did things you wouldnít expect a veteran QB to do, especially holding onto the ball and taking sacks in critical times.

"They do a lot of exotic blitzes; thatís what makes those guys good on defense," Culpepper said. "We didnít make enough plays at the end to get us in the end zone. Thatís how I look at it. Iím the quarterback that has to make plays in that situation and we didnít get it done."

It certainly would have helped if Calvin Johnson, who was injured his right leg, was around at the end. Still, apparently, Johnson isnít worth the price of admission, either. Many around NFL America marvel about Johnsonís talent.

But it doesnít seem as if many in Motown view him as must-see each and every Sunday.

The same goes with second-year running back Kevin Smith. Nice, but not Barry Sanders.

The no-name, faceless defense doesnít help, either. Each week, it just seems to be able to play well in spurts, but not for an entire game.

Thereís no one you want to watch, rush the passer or deliver a bone-crushing hit. Instead, the defense is usually picked apart.

There was a time when fans here would still show up to see a team like the Steelers. Many would believe it would bring out the best in the Lions and they also wanted to see the leagueís top dog.

Itís just not the case anymore. You get the sense many fans sound like that cop at an accident scene, "Keep it moving. Thereís nothing to see here."

That would be a shame. It tells you the story line was more interesting when the Lions were losing like crazy for eight years than it is now with the Lions trying to turn things around.

"It doesnít matter if weíre home or away," said Peterson of the huge crowd for their opponent. "We just have to make sure we handle our business and get some wins."

If they do, maybe the fans wonít give up their seats.

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